October was Domestic Violence Awareness month, the time of year when colleges around the United States bring awareness to this issue; thus coming together as a community and showing support to students who either have been affected by or are currently dealing with this issue.
Arizona State University’s understanding of this national issue is illustrated through ASU’s police department wearing purple pins on their uniforms throughout the month of October.
When one typically thinks about domestic violence, physical abuse is the first thing that comes to mind. Although this is true, domestic violence has an umbrella of situations and occurrences ranging from physical violence, sexual violence, and threats to emotional and physiological abuse.
By definition, “domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another,” according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).
In a sample of about 1,937 students at ASU, “8.3% of ASU students reported being in an emotionally abusive relationship, 1.9% reported being in a physically abusive relationship, 1.0% reported being in a sexually abusive relationship,” sighted by the American College Health Association’s study of ASU in Spring 2015.
Although this is only a small sample of the ASU population, these statics provide insight into students’ lives displaying students who are struggling with domestic violence on a regular basis and a variety of scales.
The significance of researching these numbers at a collegiate level is to hopefully reduce this problem nationwide. “The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime,” according to the NCADV.
“Dating and domestic violence between intimate partners knows no boundaries and can become violent quickly. Domestic violence happens across all cultures in every community and even at a university,” said Michael Thompson, Chief of ASU Police Department.
ASU has created numerous programs for students who seek help with this issue by receiving counseling or taking legal action.
“Domestic violence cases fall under sexual discrimination in the ACD 401 policy in the Academic Affairs Manual. The policy prohibits sexual discrimination, which means actions taken in domestic violence cases on campus are taken very seriously,” said Jodi Preudhomme, Title IX coordinator.
In addition to the ASU Police Department, ASU’s Counseling Services and Health Services also emphasize the importance of overcoming this issue. They are committed to providing students with guidance and support.
“When students are experiencing relationship violence of any type, our priority is to work with the students to ensure their safety, empower them to make whatever choice is best for them in their relationship, and help them cope with the very real emotional and physical consequences of violence,” stated Aaron Krasnow, Associate Vice President of ASU Counseling Services and Health Services.
In addition to the counseling services at ASU, “ASU Wellness offers confidential support and resources for immediate assistance and promotes awareness amongst students and staff,” according to the Academic and Campus Resources website.
If students do not feel comfortable seeking counseling, the faculty and staff at ASU provide additional help when needed.
“Staff and faculty are required to participate in online training about reporting misconduct,” according to Academic and Campus Resources.
Another study conducted in Spring 2015 by the American College Health Association at ASU showed, “3.1% of female students and 1.2% of male students reported they experienced an attempted or completed sexual assault in the previous year, 7.8% of female students and 3.6% of male students experienced sexual touching against their will in the previous year, and 1.4% of female students and 0.8% of male students reported they had been in a sexually abusive relationship in the previous year.”
ASU’s numerous resources, such as victim advocates through ASU’s police department and the Educational Outreach website through Student Services, exhibit an effort to make students feel safer in their relationships. Additionally, these advocates hope to reduce these statistics to breed healthier relationships involving the students at Arizona State University.
Nationally, “in the United States, an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute, equating to more than 10 million abuse victims annually,” according to the NCADV.
It is vital for students to know they can receive help.
“On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls,” states the NCADV. Domestic violence is a serious issue and “can result in physical injury, psychological trauma and even death.”
On November 1st and 2nd, survivors and supporters of domestic violence gather on ASU’s Tempe Campus to participate in the Clothesline Project where t-shirts were hung to encourage students to stand up against domestic violence.